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The Ed.D. program is designed to support interaction and learning among students and faculty by incorporating an accommodative learning environment that incorporates within the design both blended or fully online instructional delivery systems, “flipped” learning sessions, modified cohort memberships and strategic groupings, specialization-related assignments, individual learning plans, research benchmarks, and educational trips.


Accommodative Learning Environments

The program provides students the option to attend courses within a blended or fully online instructional delivery system. The blended option utilizes face-to-face, on-campus learning sessions (one Saturday per term); real-time, online video conferencing; and self-paced learning modules. This option is recommended for those students who live in close proximity to our Irvine campus. The fully online option is offered to students who are unable to travel to our campus and is delivered through real-time, synchronous learning sessions and 24/7 asynchronous modules.

Typical 8-Week Schedule for Ed.D. Courses
Week Learning Modality Day of Week
1 Blended: Face-to-face, On-campus

Fully Online: Synchronous Conference Call
Blended: Saturday

Fully Online: Thursday Evening & Saturday Morning
2 Asynchronous Module 24/7
3 Synchronous Conference Call Thursday Evening
4 Asynchronous Module 24/7
5 Synchronous Conference Call Thursday Evening
6 Asynchronous Module 24/7
7 Synchronous Conference Call Thursday Evening
8 Independent Study Final Assignment due on Saturday, No Learning Sessions

*This schedule is typically followed for five of the six academic terms (Fall 1, Fall 2, Spring 1, Spring 2, Summer 1). Courses during Summer 2 term utilize a 6, 7 or 8-week format, depending on the calendar year.

“Flipped” Learning Sessions

The program utilizes a “flipped” classroom, instructional approach to learning. As such, each student is expected to complete assignments (i.e., video lessons, assigned readings, critiques of scholarly articles, etc.) in preparation to engage in discussions or activities with fellow cohort members and their instructor during real-time learning sessions and discussion board posts. Learning session activities vary and promote a learner-centered model that engages students in active learning, highly differentiated instruction, collaboration, higher-order thinking and problem-solving.

Modified Cohort Membership and Strategic Groupings

Another strength of our doctoral program is to utilize a modified cohort membership model where students progress through the program together while making a few adjustments to student schedules for their respective Specialization. In effect, this intentional and strategic grouping of students promotes:

  • Interdisciplinary learning and innovative thinking.
  • Opportunities for students to support and learn from one another in groups.
  • Development of personal relationships and building of professional networks.
  • Raising expectations among groups that all but the occasional student will complete the program successfully.

For core and research courses, groups are represented from each Specialization while groups for specialization courses consist exclusively of experienced professionals within the respective field of study. In effect, students who enroll in:

  • The same cohort launch and same Specialization will attend 9 or 10 courses together.
  • The same cohort launch but different Specialization will attend 6 or 7 courses together.
  • A different cohort launch but same Specialization will attend 3 or 4 courses together.
  • The same cohort launch will attend all dissertation seminars together.

View Calendar & Course Sequence Learn more about Educational Trips

Specialization-related Assignments

Embedded within each core course and research course is an assignment that involves student reading, evaluation and annotation of scholarly articles that relate to the student’s area of Specialization, which each student shares with other students and their instructor during group sessions to enrich and expand the knowledge and learning—while stimulating critical and creative thinking—of all involved. Focus on an in-depth, researchable topic within the Specialization is also explored and examined as the student progresses through our Integrated Dissertation Track, from program beginning to completion of degree.

Individual Learning Plans (ILPs)

Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) are self-paced, learning plans that help doctoral students master progressively more advanced research concepts, methods and skills, as they move through the series of dissertation seminars. The ILP oral report provides each student the opportunity to share information with the instructor on what the student has learned and what next steps to take in the integrated dissertation track process.

These reports allow students to interact with their instructors as they progress through the series of dissertation seminars and advisement. The idea is that once students have achieved success, they exhibit increased confidence to tackle increasingly difficult research-related concepts, methods and skills. With mastery of each successive step, it will become much easier for students to undertake the challenges of conducting and completing dissertation research, which requires mastery of research methods and skills.

Research Benchmarks

Research benchmarks—which are integrated across the curriculum—ensure that students have an appropriate foundation to build upon concepts, theories, and research in preparation for dissertation research and for use in learning organizations.

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